While you’ll probably remember to pack the bug spray for a trip to the woods, you might not remember it each time you hit up the park this summer. But fear not, we asked an expert how to get rid of mosquito bites.
“Applying ice to the area is a good step in decreasing swelling, redness and discomfort,” says Larry Lutwick, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He suggests taking a non-sedation antihistamine such as cetirizine (Zyrtec).
You might also want to consider coating your bites with a topical diphenhydramine or corticosteroid, he adds.
How long should a mosquito bite last? “The resolution of the reaction tends to be over several days,” Dr. Lutwick says. Can you get rid of them overnight? Probably not. “In mild reactions, perhaps—but not likely,” he says.
Although there are protective measures you can take, you should probably come to terms with the fact that it’s not likely you’ll avoid the nuisances altogether. “It is almost impossible to avoid mosquito exposures,” Dr. Lutwick says.
To minimize exposure, “avoid bright-colored clothing and strong perfumes and try to wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible,” Dr. Lutwick says. He adds that this might be a little uncomfortable at the height of summer. If you end up wearing shorts more than pants, consider using bug spray that contains DEET.
While it’s true that your chances of being seriously harmed by a mosquito bite are low, you might want to put bug spray on your list of items to take on your hiking adventures this summer.